Another article of interest from Topic is this one on an old proposed alternate currency in an isolated Northern California town.
Here's a short excerpt, but be sure to read the complete article online. -Editor
In 2007, a renegade climate scientist and Petrolia resident named Ken Young bet most of his own savings to create the Petol (pronounced
peh-toll), minting coins in pure silver in an effort to strengthen the self-sufficiency of the valley against the socioeconomic upheaval he foresaw
on the national horizon. Plenty of people have launched alternative currencies in this country, but Young's choice to use silver, a precious
metal with intrinsic value, set him apart from most. The Petol was a serious attempt to break away from government-backed money.
Despite some promising early sales, the coins struggled to gain traction, even among locals. Then, in February 2018, Young died of a brain tumor
at the age of 76. His bold currency experiment may be destined to fade with him. Still, I wanted to better understand what the Petol said about the
Mattole Valley and its people. Why would a community want to stop using the federal government's legal tender?
He created six coins, available in denominations of 20, 10, 5, 2, and 1, with a half-Petol in brass. A single Petol was priced around $2, meaning
a 10 Petol (one ounce) piece went for $20. They featured beautiful engravings dedicated to "a sustainable society" (windmills and
hydropower wheels, farming and bicycle transport, a pot leaf), ringed with the words "ecology," "economy," "culture":
three factors Young believed were essential for an autonomous community.
But much to his disappointment, the Petrolia general store, the lone place to buy provisions in town, would not tender the currency. "It was
just too hard to deal with-always having to check the price of silver, making calculations, and so on," says a longtime store employee who
does not want to be named. But still, she adds, the Petol was "real money, no question."
To read the complete article, see:
The Silver Currency of Cannabis Country
Wayne Homren, Editor
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